The One Thing That Derails Most People From Reaching Their Potential

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Some days I wake up, take a cold shower, sit at my desk, stare at my computer screen, and have no clue what to write.

Other days, the words are practically writing themselves before I even have a chance to  sit down.

No matter what type of day it is – one without inspiration or one bursting at the seems with it – I sit and force myself to write something. Anything.

This is the secret to becoming better at writing that most people never discover – it’s not about being inspired to write, it’s about just sitting down and writing. Every. Single. Day. And this truth extends beyond just writing. To be productive in any field requires consistent work, not spontaneous inspiration.

Even the most productive people we know don’t always feel like being productive. But what separates them from everyone else is a detachment from their feelings.

These people write, code, blog, create, practice, no matter how they feel. That’s the difference between them and everyone else. That’s the secret to how they become so great over time.

Wanting vs. Doing

That thing you want in life – more money, more freedom, a better career, better art, better work, a better body – none of those things care about your feelings.

It’s wonderful if you want to get in shape. But wanting gets you no closer to your ideal body. Only doing the necessary work can get you there. 

The athletes at the top of their field don’t care about feelings. Whether they feel like lifting weights or not, they do. Whether they feel like studying playbooks or not, they do. There are no days where the inspiration is lacking so they just stay in bed. They know that wanting to be really good means nothing. Only doing the work will make them really good.

The Subtle Influence of Feelings

There’s a reason most people don’t live up to their potential. There’s a reason so many people look at the greats and think that could be me but they aren’t. It’s because they let their feelings dictate their work ethic.

Feelings certainly have their place. Feeling grateful, happy, loved, and accepted are all wonderful feelings. But when it comes to that THING – that THING you really want in life, feelings have no place.

If you want to get in shape, you have to tell your feelings to go screw themselves. You have to go to the gym whether you feel like it or not.

If you want to conquer your finances and start living a life unencumbered by poor money habits, there’s no place for feelings. You have to identify exactly what you need to do to start saving more and then implement systems that force you to save. 

Too many people claim they want something so badly but never put forth the effort to match these claims.

You know what people love doing? Tweeting about action they’re gonna take.

You know what people hate doing? Taking action to get that thing they really want.

Why? Because feelings get in the way.

That same feeling that gave you a burst of motivation to send out a tweet is the same feeling that comes over you and says “just do it tomorrow”, “start eating healthy tomorrow”, “sign up for that yoga class next week”, “set up that savings account
this weekend”, “develop a daily writing habit next month”.

Delay, delay, delay.

Our feelings tell us to delay those things we know we should be doing. Our feelings tell us to wait until we’re ready. If we feel like taking action, we will. If we don’t, we won’t. We’ll
watch Netflix instead. There’s always tomorrow, right?

Detach From Your Feelings

If you want something in life and you don’t feel like you’re making any meaningful progress towards it, there’s a good chance you’re identifying too strongly with your feelings. You’re probably waiting for motivation. Or inspiration. Or the perfect time to start.

Detach from your feelings. Screw motivation. Don’t wait for inspiration. There is no perfect time to start.

If you really want something – a better diet, better finances, more discipline to do the work you’ve been putting off – don’t let your feelings dictate your actions. Leave the feelings at home. Develop systems and habits that force you to take action, that force you to do that thing despite how you feel.

Decide which days of the week you’ll go to the gym and go no matter what. Whether you feel like it or not.

Detach your feelings from your money habits. Don’t invest when you feel like it, set up automatic deposits each week that force you to invest. 

Vow to work on your craft everyday. Set aside time to write everyday. Or draw. Or code. Whatever that work you love but haven’t been doing because you’ve been letting your feelings dictate whether or not you work.

Feelings will derail you from doing what you want the most. Your best life, the one where you become the best version of yourself, rests on the other side of your feelings.

Your health, your wealth, and your work will all improve the moment you decide to set up systems and habits that eliminate the influence of feelings.


My favorite free financial tool I use is Personal Capital. I use it to track my net worth, manage my spending, and keep an eye on my monthly cash flow. It only takes a few minutes to set up and it makes tracking your finances simple and easy. I recommend trying it out.

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2 Replies to “The One Thing That Derails Most People From Reaching Their Potential”

  1. This holds true when I was studying for my CPA. I would sit down basically every evening and just do it…..meaning studying. As long as I was consistent, I would figure out different ways to study, learn, repeat etc. I made it a habit, a true part of my life. 🙂

    1. Consistency is almost always the answer to getting anything you want in life. The people who succeed aren’t always the most talented or the most skilled, but they’re always the most consistent. They just show up everyday to put in the work. Congrats on your CPA 🙂

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